Zion National Park is an indigenous park sited in Southwestern Utah. It encompasses an area of 229 miles. The eminent and most signifying feature of the park is the Zion Canyon, which is 24-km long and spans up to 80m. Along with its unique geography, it has a diversity of life zones which includes 289 species of birds, 75 mammals, and 32 reptiles which inhabit the desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest, four life zones of the park.
The park features mountains, buttes, mesas, natural arches, slot canyons, and rivers. It is mostly distinguished by the Zion Canyon’s steep red cliffs. Throughout the history, it has been used as a set in many Hollywood movies such as the Deadwood Cash (1942), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Nevada (927), Ramrod (1947), and Arizona Bound (1927).
The history of this park dates back to over 8000 years. This long span of history has been divided into four periods, categorized according to the social adaptations and technological advancements. The first cultural period was called the Archaic Period (estimated 6000B.C. to A.D. 500), the second was known as the Formative period (A.D. 500-1300), the Neo-Archaic Period was the third period which began in 1300A.D. and ended in the late 1700s, and the fourth and the last period was known as the Historic Period, which began in the late 1700s.
This site is located on two plateaus, Markagunt and Kolob, in Iron and Kane counties. It is perched at the meeting point of the Colorado Plateau, the Mojave Desert, and the Great Basin (North American Provinces). The Horse Ranch Mountain is the most elevated point in the park, with a height of 8,726-ft (2,660m) and the lowest point, Coal Pits Wash, has an altitude of 3,666-ft (1,117m). Virgin River, the Narrows, Emerald Pools, Angels Landing, The Great White Throne, and Court of the Patriarchs are some of the significant geographic points in the park, worthy enough to be visited.
Activities in Zion National Park
Zion National Park is entitled as one of the most famed tourist attractions as it often offers it’s visitor a number of activities. Horseback riding, nature walks, and Ranger programs are some activities which are very enjoyed by tourists, of every kind, old or young. The park comprises of seven trails, which are very famous for hiking. The most popular trails are located in the Kolob Canyons segment of the park, which is Taylor Creek and the Kolob Arch (8-hours round trip). Other trails are the Weeping Rock (Roundtrip-less than an hour), Canyon Overlook (1-hour round trip), Emerald Pools Trail (3-hours roundtrip), Riverside Walk (2 hours Roundtrip), and Watchman Trail (3-hours roundtrip). The park also provides three campgrounds and a lodge, Zion Lodge. The park offers tons of scenic views and captivating places to visit due to which it has become one of the most renowned and famed tourist destination attracting millions of visitors per annum. Some of the popular tourist destinations include:
- Zion Canyon:
This open-air venue is vertically walled with a depth of 3,000-ft. It is also known by the names of “Little Zion”, “Mukuntuweap”, and “Straight Canyon”, Zion Canyon is a deep and narrow gorge in Utah in the United States, sculpted by the action of Virgin River. Almost, the entire canyon is situated within the Zion National Park. It is entitled as the most striking point in the park as it offers tons of scenic views of many sites such as those of the Angels Landings and the Narrows. Zion Canyon is the main destination for most of the visitors as it offers plenty of places to explore such as Zion Lodge, Visitor Center, Temple of Sinawava, and the Narrows.
- Angels Landing:
Previously known as the Temple of Aeolus, the Angels Landing is a tall rock formation in Zion National Park and is one of the most popularized hikes. This rock formation has an elevation of 1,488-ft (453m). It has a trail cut into solid rock leading to the top of Angels Landing, accessing the tourists to have the mesmerizing and scenic views of the Zion Canyon. The roundtrip is 5-miles long and the hike is strenuous and exhausting. The steep and narrow trail is best suited for the experienced hikers.
- Emerald pools:
An oasis in between the desert, just across the Zion Lodge, Emerald Pools is a cluster of trails, best suited for hiking along the whole family. Emerald Pools provides with hikes of every level, from short and easy to strenuous and exhausting hikes, for the beginners/trainees as well as for the experienced/advanced hikers. All the hikes lead to the fine and splendid waterfalls and shimmering pools. There are three Emerald Pools in the park. Lower which has a round trip of 1.2-miles, Middle; it has the roundtrip of about 2 miles, and Upper, which has the Roundtrip of about 3 miles.
- Virgin River:
This 162miles long river is tributary of Colorado River and is known as the Virgin River. It is marked as Utah’s first wild and scenic river. It has carved through the red stones in the Zion National Park and has created irresistible and unique scenery. Visitors usually camp on the shore to have full access to the scenic views.
- Virgin River Gorge:
Carved out by the strong waves of the Virgin River, Virgin River Gorge is a long canyon which is situated between the St. George in Utah and Beaver Dam in Arizona. This gorge is mainly famous among the rock-climbers, hikers, and campers.
- Zion-Mount Carmel Highway:
Constructed around the cliff walls, Zion-Mount Carmel Highway is a 25-mile long road in the state of Utah, with a 1.1-mile long tunnel. The Highway opens at the East side of the entrance of Zion National Park. As the tourists travel along, they are enabled to witness the irresistible views of the Zion Canyon, from a different perspective. The highway was built using the mining techniques rather than the traditional and old methods. A significant ingredient of this highway is its 5,613-ft tunnel with consistent intervals of 21-ft. The tunnel was constructed within 3 years at a cost of $503,000.
- Weeping Rock
A major spot in the Scenic driveway of the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, Weeping Rock offers the stunning views of the hanging gardens of moss and ferns along with a hiking trail. The trail of Weeping Rock is regarded as the shortest trail in the whole park with 30-min roundtrip. It is very useful for capturing the amazing and breathtaking moments. Its family-friendly environment attracts thousands of visitors every year, making it one of the most-visited tourist attraction. Some nearby trails incorporate the Hidden Canyon, Cable Mountain, East Rim Trail, and the Observation Point.
- Riverside Walk
Also known as the Gateway to the Narrows, Riverside Walks preludes at the Temple of Sinawa, is a one short, adventurous hike, with a family-friendly ambiance. It offers the breathtaking views of the Virgin River and the Hanging Gardens of the Weeping Rock. For Young people, its just a long, relaxing walk. The best part is that it also allows wheelchairs. Along with these stunning views, you may also witness some wildlife, from mule deer to wild turkeys. Squirrels can also be seen.
- Human History Museum
The Human History Museum is located in the Zion National Park, to the north of the south entrance of the park. This museum reveals the several stages of the evolution of the Humans in the Zion National Park. It has some permanent exhibits, displaying the primitive American Indian Culture, giving details about their settlements. It also gives an overview of the consequence of water in Zion, as it is the most important element here, which is the source of scenery and breathtaking views of the park and one of the major reasons why the people moved here. Replicas of historic Union Pacific Railroad lodging, Civilian Conservation Corp diaries, park employee photographs, and much more can be witnessed here.
- The Narrows
Synonymous to its name, the Narrows is the narrowest part in the Zion National Park. It is renowned for hiking and is mainly populated in winters. The sixteen-mile hike in the Narrows is strenuous and exhausting; children should not be taken along. It not only provides an unforgettable experience but also offers scenic views, enough to relieve a person from all his anxiety. This long hike is perfect for making memories and unforgettable moments.